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Prosecution to Launch an Investigation into “X-File”

Posted July. 26, 2005 03:08,   


In response to the People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD)’s complaint against those involved in the so-called “X-File,” a tape illegally bugged by the National Security Planning Agency (NSPA), with the prosecution on July 25, the prosecution actually launched an investigation into the case, including reviewing related materials and the placement of this incident.

Park Han-cheol, the third deputy chief prosecutor of the Seoul Central District Public Prosecutors’ Office, said, “We are reviewing the bill of indictment submitted by PSPD,” adding, “Taking into account the public’s high interest in the case and its significance, we are planning to rapidly arrange the incident to be probed by departments in charge of such incidents such as the special investigation department.”

“Once a case is placed into a certain department, which means that an investigation into the case is launched, the extent of it including illegal eavesdropping and bribery will hinge on the results of reviewing the related documents,” adding, “Since we cannot investigate this incident by using only transcripts disclosed by the media, the investigation will be carried out through some other materials,” deputy chief prosecutor Park explained.

Regarding whether punishment of bribery (the suspicions of Samsung Group’s lobbying for taking over Kia Motors) under the Specific Crime Aggravation Punishment Act (SCAPA) with a 10-year statute of limitation will be included in the prosecution’s investigation, Park added, “It is worth being delved into, even if it is needed to review whether the matter is related to the law.”

Meanwhile, PSPD lodged a complaint against approximately 20 people including Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee and Korean Ambassador to the U.S. Hong Seok-hyun (former president of JoongAng Ilbo) with the prosecution on the same day.

During a news conference held at Neutinamu Cafe in Anguk-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, on the same day, PSPD stated, “We will file a complaint against those implicated in this incident, including former Grand National Party (GNP) Chairman Lee Hoi-chang who was revealed to have received funds from Samsung Group through the so-called ‘NSPA’s X-File,’ on a charge of taking a bribe under the SCAPA.”

Chairman Lee, Ambassador Hong, and Lee Hak-soo, the head of Samsung Group’s corporate restructuring office, were charged with malpractice and misappropriation under the SCAPA.

The number of those who had complaints against by PSPD is about 20. Among those, the names of seven people including Chairman Lee, Ambassador Hong, head of Samsung Group’s corporate restructuring office Lee, former GNP chairman Lee, Lee’s younger brother Lee Hoi-seong, the former head of the Korea Energy Economics Institute, former lawmaker Seo Sang-mok, and Rep. Ko Heung-kil were specified in the bill of indictment.

The real names of other figures, including about 10 former and incumbent prosecutors and high-ranking officials of the Ministry of Justice, then ruling and opposition parties presidential candidates and lawmakers in 1997, and then deputy prime minister and minister of Finance and Economy, were not clarified.

PSPD insisted, “Those who had complaints filed against them accepted a bribe specifically and inclusively related to something in return for it from the Samsung Group, and we are sure that in particular, former GNP leader Lee must have gotten a bribe from the Samsung Group, given that Lee mentioned on the matter of taking over the Kia Motors by the Samsung Group.”

Tae-Hoon Lee Yang-Hwan Jung jefflee@donga.com ray@donga.com